There are actually two types of broad axes. There is the Game of Thrones type of double bitted weapon of war made to separate heads from bodies, and there are much less frightening woodworking tools. In this post we will be focusing on the latter.
The woodworking type of broad axe, or broadaxe, is lot smaller than those a knight of medieval England would have wielded. They are typically single bitted one-handers, much like the other woodworking type of axe, the carpenter's axe.
For a quick reference chart of broad axes, scroll to just below the Quick Navigation links in the box below to the Broad Axe Reviews Chart, or keep reading for more information on this woodworking tool.
Broad Axe Reviews Chart
Here are three of the top broad axes and broad hatchets.
Weight (lbs): 3.5
Length (in): 29
Weight (lbs): 2.5
Length (in): 14
Weight (lbs): 3
Length (in): 15.5
*Clicking on the links in the comparison chart above take you to individual product pages on Amazon.com
What to Look for in a Quality Broad Axe
The best way to find the right axe is to know what the job or function of that axe is. If you want to split logs, then you'll want to get the best splitting axe you can afford. But, if you want to carve wood into artistic, that type of blunt force approach won't work. You need a carpenter's axe instead.
However, if you are instead planning on shaping logs for a more industrial purpose, like hewing logs for the purpose of creating stackable logs to build a cabin, you most likely want a broad axe.
The most important part of this type of axe that you'll want to assure meets the standards of your task is the axe head. And, as the name suggests, the head of you axe needs to very very broad.
Most broad axes have a very flat head, making the job of hewing easier. They also tend to have a large cutting edge and a very deep beard.
One unique feature that many other axes don't have if the single bevel. That is, instead of the bit being grinding into a wedge-shaped bevel, one side of the head will be entirely flat while the other is ground into a cutting shape. This helps keep your cuts even and flat. Not all broad axes are single beveled however.
Example of a Broad Axe
This Council Tool broad hatchet is a great example of what to look for when in the market for a woodworking tool.
- double-beveled bit
- gently curved American hickory handle
- Forged steel axe head made in the U.S.A.
- Purchase include leather sheath
As this is a bit of a more specialized type of tool, you don't often see as many of the bigger name brands focusing their efforts or manufacturing or marketing them. That doesn't mean there aren't some high-quality tool and axe manufacturers making some great products though.
The good news is that since this is more of a specialty item, those companies that have decided to spend their resources on making them know what they're doing.
Here are a few of those companies:
- Council Tool
- Granfors Bruk
- Vaughan & Bushnell
You are sure to find other smaller manufacturers on your search as well, but these are some of the more well-known ones.
before you dive in and make a purchase, it's highly recommended to make sure you're getting the right tool for the job. If you are going to be spending your time only hewing large logs, a small broad hatchet is probably a very poor choice. You will want something more customized.
Additionally, while they look cool and have some very similar features, the traditional fighting broad axe is not going to help you much if you're doing some wood working. For example, the single-handed axe below made by Cold Steel is meant to be a reproduction of what the viking may have used in skirmishes.
It has some very similar features to the woodworking tools discussed above, like a long cutting surface and a deep beard. But, this is not something you want to get if you're in the market for a woodworking tool.
Example of a Non-Woodworking Axe
This Cold Steel viking axe looks really cool, but it won't help you much with your woodworking duties.
- modeled after historic viking fighting axes
- broad, sharp cutting edge
- American ash handle
- carbon steel axe head
Referred to broadaxes, broad axes, or broad hatchets, this type of tool has a very specific purpose. It's not meant to split logs or fell trees. Instead, much like a carpenter's axe, which they can often be interchanged with, it's meant to be used as a woodworking tool.
You often don't need to break the bank to get a quality one, but if you're serious about the task in front of you, going more premium often means an easier time and as well as getting your hands on a product that will have a longer life span.
Regardless of which one you choose, we hope our broad axe reviews have been helpful and wish you the best of luck with your new project!